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City Administrator position created in Electric City

Current clerk adds role to job title


The city council approved the creation of the position of “city administrator” and to have current clerk Russ Powers fill the position.

The council discussed the need for the position and the justification for the added pay that comes with it for Powers at their June 11 meeting.

“So the idea here,” Councilmember Aaron Derr asked, “is we’d have someone at city hall that can make more decisions, given that our mayor will typically have a full-time job and can’t be here on a day-to-day basis?”

“Correct,” Mayor John Nordine said.

“It makes sense to have somebody here all the time managing the other people that work at the city,” Councilmember Carol Nordine said.

“I know when I was [mayor] pro-tem, I pretty much just asked Russ what was going on,” Derr said.

Councilmember Birdie Hensley questioned how adding extra duties can fit into Power’s day, considering he already works a full-time position. “Is he working overtime or comp time?” Hensley asked. “There’s eight hours a day and so many days a week. He has added responsibilities; where is he going to put that in the hours of the day? The city administrator is going to take hours away from something else?”

“Or we’re finally recognizing how much work the city clerk is doing,” Derr responded.

Councilmember Lonna Bussert brought up that it could take more time to relay things to the mayor to make decisions than if a city administrator had the authority to make those decisions himself.

Powers said he already does most of the duties listed in a job description for city administrator. The duties include to “plan and direct all administrative activities of the City, … to carry out the required mandates of City ordinances, … provide information and advice to the Mayor, City Council, other public officials and the public on the City’s operations, … to administer and to supervise the carrying out of decisions, … keep the Mayor and Council fully informed and advised of the financial conditions of the City,” and more, including being aware of grant and loan opportunities, being involved in meetings, preparing the budget, and serving as “personnel officer,” which includes the hiring of and discharge of some city employees.

The city administrator reports to the mayor of the city.

The addition of city administrator to Powers’ current job title of clerk/treasurer raises his salary from roughly $62,500 to $70,000, a number chosen by Mayor Nordine after the city attorney presented him with the salaries of similar positions from similar cities, such as Soap Lake, where the city administrator makes between $60,000 and $80,000.

Powers thanked the council for approving him as city administrator.

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